Hi everyone! My name is Erin McConnell, and I am a registered nurse and research coordinator at Nova Scotia Health and an incoming doctoral student in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University. I am excited to be starting my PhD in Nursing in September 2023 under the co-supervision of Drs. Christine Cassidy and Audrey Steenbeek. My involvement with the Strengthening Transitions In Care (STIC) Lab began in the Fall of 2022 when I started my Master of Science in Nursing, and since then, I have been involved with multiple systematic reviews. My research will focus on transitions in care for kidney patients. I am also interested in knowledge translation (KT) and implementation science, which I will be discussing in this blog.
This past June, I had the opportunity to go to the KT Canada Summer Institute (KTSI) held at the University of Ottawa. The KTSI is led by Canadian experts in knowledge translation and offers the opportunity for KT novices to learn how KT can address gaps in healthcare. Due to the pandemic, this was the first in-person KTSI since 2019. The institute commenced with a group smudging by Michele Whiteduck, Algonquin Knowledge Keeper. The opening ceremony was followed by an excellent overview of KT and implementation science by Dr. Melissa Brouwers which set the stage for the following three days. The KTSI comprised several informative and engaging presentations and panels by experts in implementation science, group work, and oral and poster presentations by trainees.
As a novice to KT, I was delighted to learn and network with trainees and early career researchers interested in bridging the research-to-practice gap from across Canada. Attendees were from many different research backgrounds which all led them to KT – from nursing and physiotherapy to psychology and epidemiology. Multiple sessions throughout KTSI were devoted to small group work, where each group worked through an implementation plan applying the concepts learned throughout KTSI. I enjoyed being a part of interdisciplinary collaboration throughout the implementation plan development. I found one of the most helpful sessions to be the 30-second project presentations to the entire group, as it gave me the opportunity to think about how I would succinctly and clearly describe my proposed research; it also gave KTSI participants an idea of the diversity of trainee projects across disciplines.
There were several takeaways that I will bring forward to my research, including knowledge user engagement, identifying the appropriate theory, model or framework for the research, and how mixed methods research can be used in KT. I am grateful for this experience and look forward to continuing my learning at future KT Canada events.